Sadhana not asana

Finding yoga in every step

imprintI recently said to a friend who has a 4 year old and almost three year old twins (yes, I know) I don't know how she does it. This was after I'd forgotten my daughter's lunch for nursery and had to go back home and get it. She said, she's just come to accept that chaos is her new normal. And we agreed that "embrace the chaos" is a great mantra.

This is where I currently am and expect to be for a while. I get torn by the second between a baby and a three year old, between playing and feeding, between dinner and reading books and a thousand other things impossible to reconcile. It is now that I need my yoga practice the most. However, before my mat has even unfurled, I get pulled elsewhere and then sits there for two weeks gathering dust. Every time I see it I mourn a little for how my life used to be. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mum, I am fascinated and frustrated as I watch them grow and do my best to nurture them but also, I really want to do a sun salutation.

There's the paradox.

I'm a bit obsessed with them, how can two polar opposites be found in each other. It's a game I play, I imagine myself with a bad eighties perm, shoulderpads and a massive red button playing "where's the yoga??" in TV game show format of my youth. I just gave away my age. That's baby brain for you.

What if the yoga is in the pull between my attention?
What if I'm being given the ultimate training in staying present?
What if I'm being called to find the yoga which works for me now, regardless of how it was?
Then, it becomes a lot more interesting and not so annoying. Maybe this is why Sri Pattabhi Jois said parenting was the 7th series.

I will outline how I build my personal daily sadhana (practice) so you can take from it what you will. However, I also want to quote Father Ted, again I give away my age but this exchange stuck with me:

Father Dougal: There's lots of ways to praise God, isn't there, Ted? Like that time you told me to praise him by just leaving the room.
Father Ted: That was a good one, yes.

I challenge you not to say it in an Irish accent, but I digress.

The point is, yoga is not just asana. I know we know this but I'm saying it again.

I see it as a medical box, take what you need, the rest will still be there. Plasters are magical and fast, according to my three-year-old, especially if they have animals on them.

This is what I've learnt since my life stopped revolving around myself and my timetable and became dictated by tiny tyrants:
1. Intention: I always have a reason to practice, otherwise why bother? If it's not serving you or your family then switch it up. More on this later.

2. Time: I can't guarantee how much time I'll have to myself in the day, if any, so I know when I get it that's it's mat time, regardless of the washing, cooking, whatever. 5, 10, 15 minutes, whatever is great.

3. Explore: there are so many wonderful practices, I take deep breaths at the traffic lights, meditate when I'm feeding, throw a pose with the kids, hold a mudra when I'm about to lose my cool, work with a mantra in the show, sing, dance, get outside. Father Ted was right, there are many ways to connect.

4. Sadhana: I like to commit myself to 40 day sadhanas where I practice the same things consistently for 40 days. It's symbolic, Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and the yogis would commit to practices for this long, even a school half term is 6 weeks or 42 days (close enough), it's why I teach in cycles of 6 weeks aswell. Neuro-science has since caught up and tells us that a month is about the amount of time we need to create a new neural pathway in the brain.
Therefore, to create a habit we have to do it repeatedly for about 30 days (close enough) for it to be imbedded in our neurons, or samskaras, because the yogis were there way before the neuroscientists.

And so, I return to paradox because I know that committing to something for 40 days is a challenge when we have busy lives, however, I urge you to consider it because:
a. Magic happens. Honestly. Otherwise I wouldn't be writing this now.
b. Because I give myself a break between the forty days, to allow it to settle and be open to create my next. Call it a sadhana savasana.
c. Then more magic happens

The key is to be realistic: if I set myself up to fail I will, if I don't consider why I'm doing my sadhana during my sadhana savasana I'll become disillusioned, if I'm not honest with what capacity I have I'll give up. I keep up my meditation practice but drop everything else to give myself space. Finally, I write it down, that is how it comes to life and how I remember what day I'm on.

Here's my current sadhana (day 38 – yay me):
Intention: To track to Self, drip by drip
Mantra: Om Gum Ganapatiyay Namahah – to dissolve the obstacles
Physical: 5 minutes, focusing on my postnatal aches
Pelvic floor: I'm 10 weeks postnatal, n'uff said
Pranayama: ujjayi
Meditation: 20 minutes starting with 108 repetitions of my mantra
Mudra: Musti mudra, to release emotions – I have a threenager with a new sibling

And here's what's bubbling and I'll let percolate during my sadhana savasana:

1. Oh cool, I can and do have a practice
2. My abdominals feel week and as such, my back is vulnerable. I need to check my separation (diastasis recti) them and strengthen them with this knowledge
3. I want to explore another breath
4. I need Musti mudra in my life
5. Lakshmi is calling

Next cycle some tools will change, some will stay the same. I keep spiralling in, diving deep and flying free. Balancing as best I can on the edge of the paradox, between being a householder and a spiritual being.

Embracing the chaos.
This post was first published on www.yogagro.com, sadly out of action now I have repostedhere as an introduction to a new project! Stay herefor updates :)

Posted in Sadhana

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.


  • Adele Yoga covering:
    London and Home Counties


  • 07841 657 867
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Follow Adele Yoga

facebooktwitter  pinterest